As I was preparing to watch last night’s Georgia-Florida game, I was thinking to myself, “I hope these kids have more energy than I do at this moment.” Energy is the first ingredient in the formula for ending a 9-game losing streak. Would the Hoop Dawgs have enough to see them through on a late Saturday night in Gainesville? As it turned out, Tom Crean’s beleaguered basketball team showed up with energy to spare and stunned Florida on their own court, winning 61-55. That plane ride back to Athens must have been fun.
EDIT: (This is pretty sweet)
Never stopped hammering— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) March 3, 2019
-61 -55 pic.twitter.com/N2A4hDdeGO
The narrative of this particular tilt seemed destined for that familiar, sad ending. Georgia gave up a substantial lead just before the half, had prolonged scoring droughts and the old familiar turnover bug-a-boo would not go away as the Dawgs committed 15 by game’s end, with 10 of the turnovers occurring in the first half. However, Georgia would settle down offensively and not go quietly into that good night, hanging around like they have against better competition of late, but not finishing. In the last 4 games prior to last night, Georgia had taken Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU down to the wire and all these games were absolutely winnable. Despite these losses, one could sense this team - warts and all - was beginning to figure some things out and sooner or later would get that elusive 2nd Conference victory. The fact that it would happen at Florida, a team fighting for their very NCAA Tournament lives, makes it art.
Nicolas Claxton led all scorers with a career-high 25 points, with 3 blocks and was 2 for 2 from beyond the arc. Jordan Harris chipped in 9 points. On the night, Georgia shot 56% from the field and won this game despite the turnovers and being out-rebounded 30-21. Inside the paint, Georgia was 22 of 34 with “The Slim Reaper” doing most of the damage.
Defensively, Georgia looked markedly better forcing Florida into 12 turnovers of their own. The Gator’s last lead was at the 11:38 mark. Tye Fagan hit a 3-point shot to put Georgia on top and they never trailed after that.
Georgia’s home finale is senior night this Wednesday against Mizzou, then finish the regular season @ South Carolina next Saturday. Beyond that, the SEC Tournament in Nashville, beginning on March 13.
Georgia could be a dangerous team by then and tournaments were made for upsets. Stranger things have happened (tornadoes, for example). What do you think?